Tag: Black Comedy

1972, Books, Non-Fiction, Philosophy

Jumpers (1972) by Tom Stoppard

My favourite philosopher, Hannah Arendt, believed that space exploration, particularly manned space exploration, created a new paradigm for human beings. For the first time in history, humans could physically see what astronomy and math had only proved before, namely that we were just animals on a little planet in some little corner of the universe. …

2006, Movies

Den brysomme mannen (2006, Jens Lien)

Imagine a dryer, less quirky, less fantastic Brazil and you get some faint idea of what this Norwegian film is like, a dystopian fantasy dark comedy which acts either as a critique of materialism/consumerism or as a horrible vision of the afterlife. (I’m not 100% sure which.) SPOILERS (I realize I already spoiled something for you. …

2017, Movies

Tiff 2017: The Death of Stalin (2017, Armando Iannucci)

Iannucci’s new film is, as I understand it, a bit of a left turn for him: it’s an adaptation of a graphic novel based upon the real event of the title. Though I had no such fears, one could be understandably trepidacious about Iannucci turning his satirical eye to something historically accurate.

2008, Movies

Bronson (2008, Nicholas Winding Refn)

There are probably two types of people: people who think Winding Refn is a genius and people who think he is ponderous, boring and way too interested in style over substance. You can count me among the latter. Despite all the praise over Valhalla Rising and Drive, I found both movies to be flawed. I …

2009, Movies

Boogie Woogie (2009, Duncan Ward)

This is a reasonably amusing, reasonably on satire of the London art world which could well be called the Short Cuts of art world movies – at least it aspires to be that. There’s an All Star cast, there are lots of inter-cut stories, there’s a fairly ruthless attitude towards many of the characters. Not …

2014, Movies

Calvary (2014, John Michael McDonagh)

This is a strange film about the priesthood in Ireland, which starts with an extremely (basically ridiculous) high concept plot, spends most of its time in dark (very dark) comedy and then veers into deep pathos. It shouldn’t work, but it does, and does well.

2016, Movies

Catfight (2016, Onur Tukel)

Catfight is a confused, tonally inconsistent film built around the idea of an ongoing feud between two women without weapons. At some level, I guess the premise is interesting, given that these movies nearly almost always feature men (or families, or gangs). But the execution is so inconsistent that it feels as though this was …

2015, Movies

The Big Short (2015, Adam McKay)

Let’s get this out of the way: this is not a perfect movie. It has what you might call ‘formal’ flaws; inconsistencies in style, in tone and in perspective. It is meta in a way that you might find obnoxious. But I think it might be the single most important film made about the 2008 …

2011, Movies

Bernie (2011, Richard Linklater)

This is one of those films that is played so straight you aren’t sure whether or not it’s a comedy. It’s also rather unique in the sense that, though it is a fictionalized version of a true story, it’s not only partially told as if it was a documentary, but it features interviews with numerous …

2009, Movies

Bakjwi aka Thirst (2009, Chan-woo Park)

The idea of vampires being used as some kind of metaphor for sex has probably been around for as long as vampires have been in literature. It’s not a new thing. And so, initially, this film feels like yet another in the endless line of erotic vampire films. However, the film has enough twists and …

2013, Movies

August: Osage County (2013, John Wells)

This is an adaptation of a play that fits in a long tradition of American melodramas for the stage which focus on awful families and mental illness (though, earlier in the tradition – such as with Tennessee Williams – the mental illness is implied). Frankly, beyond the better acting and the use of modern medicine …

2015, Movies

TIFF 2015: Green Room (Jeremy Saulnier, 2015) (14/15)

This is the second straight excellent thriller from Saulnier, featuring “real people” in movie thriller situations. Much like his classic Blue Ruin – which I strongly, strongly suggest you see if you haven’t seen yet – this film combines an incredibly tense thriller with elements of (very) dark comedy, to great effect. I had such …

2015, Movies

TIFF 2015: The Club (2015, Pablo Larrain) (6/15)

This is an extremely black comedy – as black as black comedies get – about a group of delinquent priests that have been forced to “retire” in a house in a small town in Chile. Unfortunately my experience of this film was affected by a couple things. First, I saw it with one of the …

2009, Movies

Amintiri din epoca de aur aka Tales from the Golden Age (2009, Hanno Hofer, Razvan Marculescu, Cristian Mungiu, Constantin Popescu, Ioana Uricaru)

This is a highly entertaining omnibus film about life in Romania in the ‘80s under Communism. The segments are all directed by different Romanian filmmakers, they have different styles and vary in terms of how entertaining they are. But, on the whole, it’s a fine indictment of a form of government that has never helped …

1961, 2015, Theatre

The Physicists (1961) by Friedrich Durrenmatt, adapted by Michael Healy, live at the Tom Patterson Theatre, Stratford, July 25, 2015

This is a play about the social responsibility of scientists posing as a murder mystery-cum comedy, set in an insane asylum. The play uses comedy and the teensiest bit of mystery to dilute it’s overwise very heavy-handed message. The play itself is so prescient (and so relevant to our time) that I am shocked I …

2014, TV

Fargo – Season 1 (2014)

I normally review a TV series after I’ve watched all the seasons. However, given that the second season of Fargo will consist of an entirely new cast and plot, I am reviewing them separately. Needless to say, SPOILERS!!! I was really, really skeptical of this idea, not only because I was once a gigantic Coen …

2013, Movies

Blue Ruin (2013, Jeremy Saulnier)

I have always had a thing for revenge movies, but one thing I will give the genre is that it isn’t realistic. Nearly every Hollywood or Asian revenge movie out there features a regular guy who transforms into some kind of hyper-manly Angel of Death simply through will power. This is not that kind of …

2007, Movies

Stuck (2007, Stuart Gordon)

This is, essentially, the American Black Comedy version of the Death of Mr. Lazarescu. It has some of the same social comment themes, though they disappear as the comedy heightens, and it is far less poignant, because it’s a comedy. On the whole it is entertaining if less effective than its foreign inspiration. 7/10